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Armed Forces families urged to complete survey to help children thrive in school

By Jonathan Clark

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ARMED Forces families in Moray are being asked to complete a survey aimed at helping their children thrive in school.

The Dandelion Project is asking regulars, reservists, or veteran families with children in primary or secondary school in Moray to let their thoughts be known.

The initiative – supported by RAF Lossiemouth, 39 Engineer Regiment and Moray Council – aims to ensure children have the right environment to get on at school.

It aims to create a long-lasting legacy for families who are navigating the twists and turns of military life.

The core objective is to make transition and schooling easier and more effective for the children of armed forces families, and help those supporting and working with them better understand the needs and barriers that are sometimes facing them.

Moray Council’s Armed Forces Champion, councillor Peter Bloomfield (Conservative, Elgin North) said: “Moving midway through the school year and into the Scottish education system is among a number of additional challenges service children can experience.

"The Dandelion Project will build on our successful working relationships with our Armed Forces partners here in Moray to make a positive difference to their education and wellbeing.”

Fiona Denton husband was on deployment with the RAF for a combined six months out of the past 12, meaning lengthy separations from her and their two young children.

Fiona Denton, pictured with her family, believes the project will be a benefit to the Armes Forces community.
Fiona Denton, pictured with her family, believes the project will be a benefit to the Armes Forces community.

She said school and nursery staff were always very supportive but families in Moray will benefit from the Dandelion Project’s aim of ensuring consistent advice and guidance, and a single point of contact, is available.

"In my experience, when my husband goes away on deployments, it can sometimes be disruptive for the children," she said.

"The school and nursery staff keep a close eye as they know that generally children from armed forces families might need a bit of extra support at school when the military parent goes, and maybe also when they come back.

“It’s great to know that The Dandelion Project can help armed forces families who come to Moray to transition into the Scottish education system, and also to help with the transition when they are moving on."

This is echoed by Amelia Gill, wife of Major James Gill RE, Officer Commanding 53 Fd Sqn at 39 Engineer Regiment, Kinloss: “I think all children of armed forces families need extra support during the transition period when their children are trying to settle into their new school.

Major James Gill and wife Amelia are backing the project.
Major James Gill and wife Amelia are backing the project.

"This is particularly relevant when you move from England and the education system is different. The Dandelion Project will be a real bonus for Armed Forces families in Moray.”

Lieutenant Colonel Jamie Walker, Commanding Officer of 39 Engineer Regiment, said: “We are delighted the Dandelion project has launched.

"Forces families arrive in Moray from all across the world, and having support available for the transition of our children’s education will have a significant impact on those families, helping them navigate mid-year school placements, any additional support needs, and different curricula and qualifications.

"We look forward to working collaboratively with Moray Council and RAF Lossiemouth to ensure armed forces children have the right conditions to thrive in their school settings.”

Wing Commander Rachel Sullivan, officer commanding the base support wing at RAF Lossiemouth, said: “The project will reduce the understandable worry that may exist for parents considering an assignment to RAF Lossiemouth.

"I encourage all our parents to undertake the quick baseline survey, as this will help shape how the project evolves and how it is evaluated in the future.”

The Dandelion Project is funded for three years through a £370,000 award from the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust.

The survey is available for all armed forces families to complete HERE.

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